Rethinking constructionalization: The history of by the way

Elizabeth Closs Traugott, Graeme Trousdale

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

A constructional perspective on change focuses on the development of conventionalized patterns of form-meaning pairings. Traugott and Trousdale (2013) made a distinction between constructionalization and constructional changes that we and others (e.g. Böjars et al 2015, Flach 2020) have critiqued. In this presentation, we suggest revised characterizations of both constructionalization and constructional changes, in light of a case study of the development of the English discourse marker by the way, from a spatial adverbial to a connective (and more recently, to a hedge). Specifically, we propose that constructionalization is the establishment of a new symbolic link between form and meaning which has been replicated across a network of language users, and which involves an addition to the constructicon. We also propose that constructional changes are modulations of contextual uses prior to and following constructionalization.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


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